That Girl’s Blog: Hats Off To The Hard Hats!

Let’s all send out a GIANT round of applause for the crews who have worked so hard for more than 2 weeks to clean up the mess left behind by the storms and tornados that crashed down on the Cape on July 23rd! I hope you are aware that even after the State of Emergency was lifted and power was restored to everyone in the days following the storms, even after the support crews from across the region went home, our local crews are still spending long hours picking up the pieces and cleaning up and clearing the way.  The guys in the trucks with the chain saws and bright yellow vests and hard hats are still out there today cutting back broken branches and taking away dead trees, although, you may not notice them. These local crews are both First Responders and Last Responders, and they deserve our respect and support.

When I was growing up, my mother always told me to show the most respect for the people who work behind the scenes. In a play, for example, she taught me that without the set designers, the lighting crew and the stage managers, the actors would only be able to do so much to entertain the audience. In fact, without the set crew, most plays would fail miserably. 

So lets offer a little applause to our local crews. Let’s shake hands with the men and women with dirt under their finger nails and sweat on their collars and heavy hard-hats on their heads on 90+ degree days and say ‘Thank you’.  We often buy a meal or a cup of coffee as a tribute to our police officers, EMT’s and Military members. Why not pay it forward to the men and women behind the scenes, too? 

State Reps Will Crocker and Randy Hunt stand with DPW Workers from across the state with the official First Responder DPW Flag.

If you ever wondered what the black & orange flag represents on the “First Responder’s Overpass” at Exit 5/ Rte 149 in West Barnstable, it’s for our DPW workers. The DPW, which stands for Department of Public Works employees, and yes, they are First Responders. 

Under the definition section of the Presidential Directive, (d) the term “first responder” refers to those individuals who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment, including emergency response providers as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101), as well as emergency management, public health, clinical care, public works, and other skilled support personnel (such as equipment operators) that provide immediate support services during prevention, response, and recovery operations.
The full list of emergency responders includes:
-Emergency public safety
-Law enforcement

-Emergency response
-Emergency medical (including hospital emergency facilities)
-Public health
-Clinical care
Public works, and other skilled support personnel (such as equipment operators)

I have seen so many posts on social media from Cape Codders lamenting the loss of so many trees after the storm. In particular, one of the oldest trees in Harwich was lost due to storm damage and had to be removed. I have seen posts complaining about how the tree was removed – not by the tornado, but the fact that a crew had to take saws and remove what was left of the tree. I have also seen people complaining about the number of trees removed by crews near Brooks park, and again, the ire was directed at the workers and not the storm. I have also heard first hand stories about residents harassing DPW workers and deliberately making their jobs more difficult. 

Yes, we love our old trees. Yes, there was more damage than anyone could have predicted. It could have been worse. 

Just a few days ago, I took a ride through Harwich, Dennis and Yarmouth. There are still a lot of tree trucks snapped several feet up and there are open spaces where trees have been cleared. There are a lot of stumps in yards and there are still DPW crews handling the clean up, on top of their normal responsibilities.  These are the same crews who were out in the wind and the rain clearing the way for Police vehicles and Ambulances and Power crews. Please remember they are out in the worst of the weather first and still working hard in the heat and the best weather, while we are going about our own daily routines. 

Thanks, guys! My hat is off to you! 

Harwich DPW works to clear trees from Williams Way.


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About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.
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